How to Deal with News that Makes Your Heart Hurt

Oh us sensitive hearts. We try so much to understand, connect, care and be aware. We want to be a compassionate presence in the world, yet we live in a world that has a lot of issues that can be heartbreaking, to say the least.

Finding a balance of staying informed about the real suffering in the world while not becoming debilitated is a challenging one.  

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This is especially true during this time of crisis where we are hearing many heart-wrenching news stories. 

As Highly Sensitive People and Empaths, our nervous systems and brains can only handle so much before we become entirely overwhelmed.

Below are a few tips I’ve come up with in order to help me not fall into the pit of despair. I hope they help you, too…

  1. Limit your time for scrolling on social media or accessing the news to 15 minutes at a time. This way you won’t inundate yourself with too much.
  2. See if you can find 2 or 3 reliable news sources that you trust. Having a place where you feel safety, trust and stability is important.
  3. Be sure you feel strong before you engage with the world’s problems. Try to avoid first thing in the morning or late at night as your resources are depleted and your guard is down.
  4. Notice the stories that really affect you. Chances are these are issues that are part of your path of social change and impact or are there to help you heal your own trauma. If it triggers you too much, be sure to take a step back and go for a walk or listen to some enjoyable music.
  5. Ask yourself what emotions does this bring up in you? E.g. anger, sadness, frustration, confusion, shock…
  6. Become clear about your throughts and feelings. Journal, talk to a friend, share your thoughts or opinions in a place where you feel safe.
  7. Find creative ways to express yourself — write a poem, an op ed piece, draw your feelings, dance it out, or start a project.
  8. If the issue is very personal and is stirring up a lot, seek out a counsellor or therapist to process your feelings.
  9. See if you can stay focused on one or two major issues or news stories, most likely the ones that really move you. Find ways to make change in small or big ways. It could be reading out the issue more in-depth, watching movies or documentaries, joining a group of concerned citizens, going to a protest, participating in initiatives in your community, etc.
  10. Be sure you also have time to enjoy life, have fun and take time to do what you love.
  11. Keep a good news journal — listing 3 touching things that you heard about or saw in your day.
  12. Fill up on good news stories, as well. They are out there and we need to remember that there are wonderful and caring people in this world, too. You are one of them!

If you need a little extra support to move from overwhelm to centred, click here to sign up for the free “Calm Your Anxious Heart” mini e-course.

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